Saying goodbye to Sara

Sara Wright leaves BCL, but not the library community

By Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer
The Surveyor

Berthoud Community Library Director Sara Wright speaks with friends at a farewell party at the library on Dec. 8. Many people stopped by to say farewell to the longtime director. John Gardner / The Surveyor

Berthoud Community Library Director Sara Wright speaks with friends at a
farewell party at the library on Dec. 8. Many people stopped by to say
farewell to the longtime director.
John Gardner / The Surveyor

Sara Wright has been a familiar face at the Berthoud Community Library (BLC) for nearly a decade, and there is little doubt that she will be greatly missed,

While she’s leaving the Berthoud library, she is not leaving the library community. Wright has taken a position as the Northeast regional consultant for the Colorado Library Consortium – a collaborative organization empowering libraries and their staff to better serve their communities. “I really thought I’d retire here at BCL,” said Wright. “But this new job represented an opportunity to have an impact statewide.

“One of the goals of the Colorado Library Consortium is to provide support services, especially for small and rural libraries, and that’s where the consultants come in,” she added.

The library’s staff is one of the things she’ll most miss.

“One of the best resources Berthoud Community Library has is the staff,” Wright said. “Each person has their own talents, which is a very valuable source of information and assistance for the community.”

Wright, whose parents were both librarians, was bitten by the book bug at a young age and has been working in libraries most of her life. Wright became the director of the Berthoud library in 2007, and has navigated the library through many changes.

During Wright’s time at the library she led the way in creating the Berthoud Community Library District, which “gave us much-needed financial stability,” said Wright.

One of Wright’s favorite memories occurred about six months after she arrived at the library: She overheard a patron say how much he loved coming to the library because he could now find the same books he saw at Sam’s Club.

“I knew I was making progress toward providing the things that people were interested in borrowing,” said Wright.

In the past nine years the library has become part of a consortium of nearly 100 libraries offering more than a million items available to patrons that they can order themselves. Today, the sky’s the limit for patrons of BCL.

The library remodel was another big part of Wright’s BCL legacy. In 2013 the library was remodeled to resemble a bookstore rather than a warehouse. This was the first remodel of the building since it was built in the mid-1990s.

“I loved watching people’s faces when they walked into the library after the remodel,” said Wright. “That was the best thing and extremely gratifying.”

There have been other changes during Wright’s tenure and, while some may seem small, these little adjustments make her extremely proud. For instance, under Wright’s leadership the library did away with fines and changed loan periods for all library materials to three weeks.

“We’ve made it easy and fun to use the library,” she said. “We’ve reduced the barriers.”

And that’s been Wright’s main goal; she wanted to establish a library that is accessible to all and a place everyone feels welcome. She admits it might not be the quietest library, but patrons have fun and she will miss the community aspect of Berthoud’s library.

“Patrons can even bring in their dogs,” said Wright. “We keep dog biscuits at the front desk.”

Leaving the BCL staff will not be easy for Wright. Most of her staff members have been with her for many years.

While she may not be here every day, she will still get to frequent her old haunt. In her new position Wright will spend a lot of time on the road, traveling to small libraries throughout Northeast Colorado, including Berthoud.

“I love knowing that Berthoud is in my territory, so I can still legitimately come by here and stick my nose in to see what’s going on,” she said.